My name is Nanda. I am married to Hans, and together we have four boys: Rutger, Stijn, Jochem, and Koen. We are a Dutch family
who left the Netherlands and moved to the U.S., and later Ireland, to be able to unschool our children. We are currently back in the Netherlands.
Our oldest son, Rutger, was born prematurely, and we nearly lost him. There were medical complications, and it was three
months before we could bring him home.
Rutger has been called a "special needs" child. We don't like to label anyone – all of our boys are special. My
heart told me that if we wanted to make Rutger happy, we needed to focus on his strengths and love him unconditionally. We found that not only is he
loving and sensitive, he is also intelligent. We helped him to follow his own interests, and he enriched and deepened our lives in ways we never
thought possible. Most of all, he was a happy child.
When Rutger entered school at age five, all of this changed. In just a few months, our bright,
confident son had turned into a scared and unhappy child. In school, he couldn't pursue his own interests, and because he wasn't challenged by what
was going on in the classroom, he would escape into his own inner world. The teachers responded to this by putting more and more pressure on him –
and on me. I spent many hours talking with them, but it didn't help. It became clear to me that they expected children to submit to the school
system and sacrifice their own interests, even if that would break their spirit.
I wished with all my heart that we could take care of Rutger's education ourselves. Seeing my child suffer gave me the courage
to follow my heart and keep him home; unfortunately, school attendance was mandatory in the Netherlands. We had no idea what would happen next, when
the solution came as if by magic – my husband was offered a job in the U.S. On the Internet we learned that homeschooling is legal in all 50